How to choose a bariatric surgeon and practice
Once you have come to the decision to proceed with weight loss surgery, it’s time to choose a surgeon and a weight loss surgery practice. This is really important! You want a team who are going to give you the best chance of great results, a team you can feel comfortable with and a team you can work with, over quite a long period of time.
Take the time to do your research. Speak to friends and family, join some of the online support groups. Many practices will hold regular information sessions. This is an opportunity to meet some of the team, have any questions answered and see if the practice may be a good fit for you. If you know anyone who has had weight loss surgery, ask them to share their experience. Your general practitioner will also be able to make a recommendation as a starting point.
A reputable surgeon will be proud of their surgical experience and statistics, encourage questions, be happy for you to seek a second opinion or to put you in touch with previous patients.
Before choosing a surgeon, we recommend researching :
- Where did they complete their medical and surgical training?
- How many weight loss surgeries have they performed?
- Which public hospitals are they appointed at? Is this a reputable health service?
- Do they conduct research or participate in teaching? Those involved in research or education are likely to be up-to-date on the latest surgical techniques and safety measures.
- Does the surgeon perform revision surgery?
- Continuity of care is so important. Should you require a revisional surgery, there may be more fees, and heightened surgical risks should you need to be referred elsewhere.
- What is the cost? Does the surgeon's package include post-surgery follow-up, and for how long? What is the additional cost should revision surgery be necessary?
Weight loss surgery is a lifelong commitment that requires long term follow up. Research continually shows a team of dedicated, specialised professionals can contribute to more optimal health outcomes. Some clinics have very limited post operative care and we would suggest this makes achieving the best long term outcome much more difficult.
A multi-disciplinary clinic employs a broad range of health professionals to ensure all aspects of your health are supported. Weight loss surgery will alter your anatomy, but you must commit to addressing any contributing behaviours and implement positive lifestyle change if you are to achieve long term success. Dietitians, psychologists, exercise physiologists and practice nurses are all critical members of the team who work together to treat obesity as a multifactorial problem.
- Ask as many questions of a potential surgeon and team as you need. This is your body, your health, your life!
- A reputable bariatric surgeon will be proud of their surgical experience, be happy for you to seek a second opinion or to put you in touch with their previous patients
- Ensure you feel confident in the surgeon and multi-disciplinary team who will be supporting you through your surgery and beyond
- Weight loss surgery is a tool that you will be working with for life. Bumps in the road are expected, but a great team will help you work with this tool long term to achieve and maintain your optimal health